Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Book Review: Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier by Jim Ottaviani, with illustrations by Maris Wicks

I love the title of this book. I LOVE that the title isn't Women Astronauts. It's just Astronauts. Because it's not that Astronauts and men and Women Astronauts are something different. Right there, before you even open the book, you know this book's approach is somewhat different, in an awesome way.

This graphic novel traces the history of women in space, mostly at NASA, but also of Valentina Tereshkova, the Soviet Cosmonaut who went up in space way, way back before the US was even considering it. But eventually, decades later, the U.S. caught on that not only are women just as good astronauts as men, there are certain things women excel at. In fact, one of the biggest advantages to letting women into the astronaut pipeline is that it opened that pipeline to all sorts of people who weren't all just test pilots. So we have much more diversity of opinion and approach when it comes to problem-solving, than NASA used to have when everything looks like a nail because they'd only hire hammers.

We follow Mary Cleave as our narrator through the background, and then on her two missions, building the ISS. I loved this book! The science is accessible, the history is appalling, and the future is promising. For any budding young scientist--of either gender--who might be interested in space, this is a must-read.

This book is published by First Second, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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